I apologize ahead of time as this will probably be long…
My wife and I have been trying for 3 years to have a child, and after trying everything we are left with IVF.
I’ve come back to the faith about 4 years ago and my wife, who is also a confirmed Catholic, has started coming back as well i.e. attending mass, praying, etc. But she doesn’t “buy” into all of it like abortion, gay marriage… I on the other hand read religious text, listen to answer/ question Catholic radio (Catholic Answers Live, Called to Communion, Open Line), Christ is the Answer, praying regularly, going on a retreat, and trying to live the faith the best I can. She feels I am overboard with it, but I don’t force it down anyone’s throat but I do try to expose her to it.
I had mentioned at the start of our infertility that I was willing to try fertility treatments but didn’t want to do IVF. After 4 IUIs (Inter Uterine Insemination [which the Church is still on the fence about for the most part]), IVF came up again and I had restated I didn’t like it for the moral reason that the Catholic Church states and tried to explain to her what I believed the taught on the subject. After some debate I said, “let’s go talk to our priest”.
We sat down with him and we explained the situation and instead of him backing what the church teaches he said, go ahead and do it, it’s out of love, you’ve tried everything else, the technology is there to try to help people in this situation.
I was taken back and confused. I had then gotten into a discussion with him about the catechism and church teachings… he said that it was man made, a guide, they didn’t have IVF back then and cant really talk about it, that it was the church’s opinion that it should not be done.
I had said I didn’t want to risk my soul by committing mortal sin by doing it and he got mad saying how our God wants to love and forgive and did I really think that God would punish us for trying to bring life to love and look up to God? Did I really think that would warrant Hell? I said no cause at the moment and they way he said it I felt sheepish. Then he had stated that if he was wrong that he would be the one responsible not me as he was the one who told us to do it.
My wife hangs her hat on that, though I had said if you had asked any other priest they would tell you the opposite and that it was immoral and should not be done. Which is what happened when I went on a retreat…
I had asked one of the priests how would one talk to a spouse about IVF and what the church teaches about it and after explaining what had happened with the other priest the retreat priest was shocked. Shocked that a priest would advice us to do something that the church teaches against.
We went through the catechism and if you read it it doesn’t say it’s a grave sin or at sin at all just says morally unacceptable, which you can say about things that people don’t like but aren’t illegal or necessarily wrong e.g. breastfeeding in public, inter-racial relationships, picking your nose, etc Then we got into the part about the procedure turing the baby into an object, dignity of the baby, and removing the marital act etc.
From my understanding the major thing the Church has against IVF is the numerous eggs fertilized v. the number of embryos placed back and how many embryos are frozen and frozen to begin with as well as what happens to them afterwards, and selective termination of too many successful implants. My wife had told me about Mini-IVF which only takes out the number of eggs to be fertilized and placed back in thus no frozen embryos and no selective termination therefore no abortion-esque actions. I am not 100% with it but find it more morally acceptable than full blown IVF.